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Toy catalog to offer more of everything

BY CSA STAFF

Target’s toy catalog is set for release on Nov. 1 and will feature an expanded assortment displayed across eight additional pages with discount coupons for savings of more than $350.

To help busy parents stay organized during the holiday season, the toy catalog focuses on list building and includes checkboxes next to every item, and a special tear-out list for kids to complete. According to the company, it is offering nearly 7,000 toys online and in stores and will offer discounts on 2,000 of those items throughout the season.

“Target has all of the toys that kids will love, and with our expanded Toy Catalog, it’s easier than ever for gift-givers to make their choices and save at the same time,” said Stephanie Lucy, Target’s VP toys.

Some of the items expected to top wish lists this year, according to Target, include, FIJIT Friends, Barbie Printable Hairtastic, Doll,Lite Sprites Wand and Sprite, Nerf Vortex Nitron Blaster, Star Wars Ultimate FX LightSaber, Air Hogs Hyperactives RC Vehicle, Paper Jamz Pro Series Mic, Lego Millennium Falcon, Imaginext T-Rex Thomas and Friends Trackmaster Cranky and Flynn Save the Day. Also among top wish list items from Target’s perspectives are some of its exclusives, including, Monster High Doll 5-pack, Flying Fairies, Disney My First Princess Doll and Toddler Dress Gift Set, Lalaloopsy Crumb’s Bake off- Doll with Kitchen Set and Disney Cars 2 Charge Ups Charge ‘N’ Race Speedway.

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Toy price parity early season gift for shoppers

BY CSA STAFF

It is still very early in the holiday season and anything could happen from a pricing perspective. However, with that as a caveat, it appears Target and Walmart are in a virtual dead heat when it comes to toy pricing, according to a survey by Citigroup’s senior retail analyst Deb Weinswig.

“Our proprietary toy pricing survey found that Walmart has the lowest prices on the hottest toys this year by a slight margin (just 50 basis points). However, if we apply the 5% discount offered to Target’s REDcard holders, the basket of toys at Target is noticeably cheaper, with 4.5% savings versus Walmart,” according to Weinswig.

That is a marked improvement for Target from last year when the toy pricing spread relative to Walmart was 270 basis points, according to a survey Weinswig conducted.

“Target is well positioned to capitalize on holiday sales, as the company has focused on improving its price perception with customers in an effort to win mind share and market share this season,” She said. “Lastly, we were surprised to see Amazon with the most expensive basket of toys especially as toys are likely to be very competitively priced this year in an effort to drive consumer traffic.”

Amazon’s prices were 9.2% higher than Walmart’s. The online survey looked only at Walmart, Target and Amazon and items featured on the Toy Insider’s “Hot 20” list and Toys“R”Us hot holiday list.

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Supplier interest high for Target’s Canadian entry

BY CSA STAFF

The departure last week of Target chief marketing officer and spearhead of the retailer’s entry into Canada, Michael Francis, was a significant development in the retail world, but someone forgot to tell the company’s suppliers.

At a “Selling Target,” event last week at The Living Arts Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, there were 110 suppliers in attendance and the departure of Francis to become president of JCPenney wasn’t really an issue, according to Jeff Doucette, founder of the Canadian retail consulting firm Sales Is Not Simple, which organized the event.

“We feel that the launch will be just as successful in Canada without Francis as success will lie with the operational teams on the ground here in Canada,” Doucette said.

The bigger issues on the minds of those attending the event, according to Doucette, were when Target will begin taking vendor appointments for particular categories, how the relationship with Canadian food wholesaler Sobeys will work and how Target expects to achieve its brand standards for service given labor rates in Canada are higher than those in the United States.

While there are some major operational considerations to be sorted out prior to the first stores opening in 2013, Doucette contends suppliers need to be focused on Target now to ensure that they properly structure their teams to support the Target business and mitigate volume risks as Zellers stores go dark and are renovated to Target stores.

“It is also important to identifying unique opportunities and offers that will excite Target buyers and guests, many of which have long lead times for execution,” said Doucette, who expects Target will do business unlike any other retailer in the Canadian market.

“They are strong marketers that put the brand first before operational efficiencies although Target’s practices from head office to the store floor are world class and highly efficient.”

Doucette is scheduled to lead a follow-up event on Nov.10 in Minneapolis in partnership with Retailing Today called, “Canada 101: Understanding Target’s Next Market.”

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